The City of Zephyrhills has taken another step forward in its quest to expand the capabilities of the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport.
The Zephyrhills City Council on April 13 unanimously approved the purchase of 1.29 acres of vacant land from Chancey Properties LLC for $122,657.22 — to make way for the airport runway 1-19 extension project.
The runway is being extended by 1,500 feet south to create a total length of 6,500 feet, to accommodate larger passenger and corporate aircraft, and encourage aviation and industrial development. The extension project currently is under design and engineering phases.
The purchased industrial land — addressed as Lot 11 on Park Place Center in Zephyrhills — is needed to facilitate the project’s required runway protection zone. That zone is a trapezoidal area off the end of the runway that serves to enhance the protection of people and property on the ground — in the event an aircraft lands or crashes beyond the end of the runway.
The city budgeted $120,000 for the land purchase, so the additional $2,657 will be absorbed within the city’s airport capital outlay budget.
The closing costs go into effect May 1.
Zephyrhills last year received $5.9 million in state appropriations for the entire runway extension project, and to construct a 3,000-foot service road to access infield site development and runway connectivity on the west side of the airport.
The airport also is set to receive an upgraded fuel farm, as well as airfield beacons and lighting improvements.
On a related note, city council appointed Stephen Gartner to the seven-member Airport Authority Board.
Gartner fills the vacancy created by the resignation of David Ruffell, who had one year remaining on a three-year term.
Gartner has been an aircraft maintenance technician for more than 45 years, and is a retired inspection foreman with Delta Air Lines. He currently restores and renovates vintage aircraft at the municipal airport. He lives just outside city limits.
In other action, the council:
- Adopted a second reading ordinance rezoning 172.73 acres of land from the residential estate district to the residential suburban district, on the west side of Dean Dairy Road and continuing north and east over to Simons Road. The future land use reclassification makes way for the Cottages at Silver Oaks neighborhood development.
- Approved a task assignment not to exceed $134,120 to consultant Jones Edmunds & Associates Inc., for engineering services related to a new reclaimed water line for the Zephyr Lakes development. The $1.42 million water line project will run approximately 11,000 feet of 12-inch reclaimed water pipe to the Wire Road/Otis Allen intersection. The project cost is being split between the city and Southwest Florida Water Management District.
- Approved and executed a $7.41 million agreement with Florida Design Contractors Inc., for advanced wastewater treatment plant construction upgrades. The project is being funded through a $2.5 million state grant and state revolving fund loans.
Elsewhere, the city tabled the construction of a new K9 kennel building for the Zephyrhills Police Department.
The city rejected all three construction bids it received, as each exceeded a $75,000 budget limit allocated for this fiscal year. The lowest bid came in at $103,832.
In its request for proposal, the city sought a concrete building with a standard seam metal roof that would include four separate kennel areas and a bathing area for police dogs.
Published April 22, 2020